Former Tribes frontman Johnny Lloyd discusses fresh starts in anticipation of upcoming gig


Jake Fisher


After splitting up with Tribes in 2013, the former frontman Johnny Lloyd ended a relative hiatus from music by beginning his solo career. Having previously toured with bands like the Maccabees and Black Honey, Lloyd released his ethereal solo EP Dreamland, which stands in stark contrast to the Pixies and Nirvana-influenced music of Tribes.

One of the tracks on the EP, Hello Death, proves a key song on the EP with Lloyd explaining that certain lyrics detail “a low point after leaving Tribes”  with him “just trying to work out what to do.” Upon the point of lyricism in his release, Lloyd described much of the things he writes as being “subliminal, it comes to you after you write.” It seems that as a musician who uses past artists as strong influences upon his work, Lloyd developed his EP in a way similar to how a  method actor would work on an upcoming film. He channelled the music of Lou Reed, whom he claimed as the main influence upon the new release after having listened to Transformer “back to back for about six months.” This isn’t to say that Lloyd’s EP is a couple of Lou Reed covers. The influences are clear but all in all it draws in aspects of ethereal production along with a highly retrospective feel.  

Moving on from his latest releases, I asked Lloyd how he found solo touring compared to touring with a band. He viewed it as “just like starting again,” with people who knew him for Tribes still “getting really into it.” Lloyd’s upcoming gig will be a part of the Tenement Trail Festival which begins on the 8th of October. He described the event as “really eclectic,” with a “proper rock’n’roll lineup,” adding that he’ll be trying to see as many gigs as possible whilst he’s not playing. Lloyd mentioned enthusiastically that he finds Glasgow a great city to play in, and tries to get a couple of days off to look around whenever he is in the city. When asked about whether he would be playing any Tribes songs on his new tour, he said very firmly: “I don’t play Tribes stuff, I haven’t done and I won’t.” Any Tribes fans out there shouldn’t expect the band’s hits from Lloyd. The artist said he’d be performing songs from the EP along with some new songs which will be released on his album in late 2017.   

Before becoming a musician, Lloyd spent time at Goldsmiths in London; I was interested to see whether the university experience was simply not for him, or whether music was always more important to him, no matter how great an experience he had whilst studying. According to Lloyd, university just couldn’t outshine his passion to make music. Supposedly, during his time at university he just found himself questioning his choices. On his switch from university to the entertainment business, Lloyd said that “you can’t learn how to do it in school,” and that “if you go to university, you have to be sure that that is what you want to do after [university] and that it is gonna help.” Whilst this approach is perhaps slightly controversial, it certainly worked for him.

To enjoy Lloyd’s new music, head over to the Tenement Trail on the 8th of October to see him live along with other acts.


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